The Problems of Conceptualisation and Measurement of Social Capital: Towards a New Synthesis
10 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2004
Date Written: July 2004
One of the unifying themes of development studies is the nascent social capital research. Its conceptualisation has however, remained hotly contested. Considering the motley of papers, both empirical and theoretical, on the subject, it is not difficult to see that somewhere along the continuum of social capital research there is a communication break down: we know the fruits of social capital but we are not certain what it is. This in turn raises serious question on what is claimed for social capital when its true essence has not been confronted. In other words, the ontology and epistemology of social capital (which should inform the theory) are not in sync with its teleology (empirics). This paper focuses on the ontological dimensions of social capital in order to contribute to a theory of social capital that is consistent with its outcomes. The benefits of such analysis is manifold. For one, it will lead to the evolution of concrete and determinable variables that are instrumental to a more robust understanding of social capital, thereby exploring ways to cultivate and accumulate social capital.
Keywords: Social Capital, Norms, Values, Measurement
JEL Classification: O10, B15, O19
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